Court Recognizes Provision of Attendant Care by Electronic Means

The provision of supervisory care to an auto accident victim by indirect electronic means, such as texting, emails, telephone calls, FaceTime, or Skype, has now been recognized as qualifying as valid care for the purposes of claiming an attendant care benefit, pursuant to the Order of The Honourable Justice Garson, dated December 30, 2014.

Justice Garson held:

[77]     We live in a world where we can Skype our relatives across the planet and appear in court by way of closed-circuit television or telephone.

[78]     Tele-health Ontario offers an array of services to Ontarians by phone and many remote communities benefit from virtual meetings with medical specialists in larger urban centres.

[79]     Simply put, there is an abundance of legal and medical services appropriately proffered and received by electronic means in 2014.

[80]     I couple these observations with the evidence before me in this matter, which include confirmations and/or indications that:

(i)  MS required constant care and supervision because of her behaviour arising from the accident;

(ii)  MS relied heavily on her cell phone for sending and receiving texts, to and from her family, friends and rehabilitation workers, and for setting reminders and alarms for important events;

(iii)  Certas paid some of the expenses of Cydney Simpson, the rehabilitation worker, which includes time for texting MS; and

(iv)  Dr. Jeffries’ report speaks to monitoring and supervision by MS through “checking-in” via telephone calls and texting, and is accepted and recommended in the May 30, 2012 OT assessment.

[81]     In all of the circumstances before me, including the age of MS, the proliferation of cell phones and texting as a way of effectively communicating, the accepted position of Certas on paying for such expenses in relation to Cydney Simpson, the nature of the illness of MS and assorted treatment requirements, I conclude that  attendant care services may be “provided” in the form of phone calls, e-mails, texting, FaceTime and other similar electronic means, for the purposes of Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule-2010.

Andrew Murray

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